The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission has Inaugurated the committee that will implement its digital literacy project in South West Nigeria.
The committee, which is chaired by the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Development & Partnership), University of Ibadan, Prof. Olanike Adeyemo, will work to upgrade digital skills level of young people in the six South West states in Nigeria.
It will accomplish this by identifying digital literacy gaps in each of the six states and galvanize human, material and financial resources through partnerships with organisations and individuals globally to plug the gaps.
Members of the committee were drawn from government, private sector and academic community.
Inaugurating the committee on Wednesday, DAWN Director-General, Mr Seye Oyeleye, said the project was borne out of the need to prepare young people in the region for the digital skills level required to function and excel in today’s digital world, adding that the time for the project was now given the current reality in the global space.
“The world has changed. Many things that used to be fantasies and being watched in the movies are already realities staring at us in the face. It is no longer ‘business as usual.’
I am sure everyone here remembers how much we missed out of the first, second and third industrial revolutions; these are different periods of new technologies and innovative ways of perceiving the world. These periods activated profound changes in social and economic structures; it is happening again. The fourth industrial revolution is driven by remarkable technologies like cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning and many more. These technologies are currently reshaping our world. Interestingly, they can help us catch up with some of the things we’ve missed out on. In essence, this is to say that this gathering is of utmost importance, hence, setting the tone to acquiring relevant skills in this 21st century – It is just too expensive albeit unthinkable for us to miss out again,” he said.
Pointing out that digital literacy covers information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation, safety and problem solving, Oyeleye stressed that surviving and excelling in the 21st century work dynamics require much more than the knowledge of Microsoft and PowerPoint presentation.
“In this century, we need skills that can be used to bring about economic diversification and cause significant improvement in various sectors like healthcare, agriculture, governance, security architecture, education and others.
“Digital literacy is a skillset we need to earnestly ensure its proliferation in our society, especially in this era of non-oil economy advocacy. It is a tool for potential Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and social-economic stability. For instance, Paystack, a Nigeria Fintech was bought from its developers at about US $200 million (or N84 Billion @ 420 naira per US dollar) – that is just a single purchase.
“It is key for the South West region to understand the need to benchmark herself with global standards. Doing this will give us a clearer picture of the region in the global space.There is no doubt that many jobs will be lost to technology, but the interesting part is that, more jobs will be created. The new set of jobs will require new set of skills. This is why we need to secure the future of the region by having clarity of our current position in the place of things and coming up with implementable policies, reforms and strategies that can take us forward,” the Director-General added.
In her acceptance speech, Prof. Adeyemo promised that it would not be business as usual in the committee’s operation, describing the committee’s work as another opportunity to serve the community.
“This job is about development, moving forward, not politics. We shall work as Yoruba, not as representatives of interest of any state or towns. We are about moving South West forward. This is typically town-gown relationship. We won’t solely rely on funds from the states. We will develop in an integrated manner; We will identify issues in each state (gap analysis) and how we can surmount them while paying attention to priorities. We will run our interventions through partnerships. We shall start from the baseline. We need to move and remove every barrier between our people and opportunities in the digital world,” she said.
Other members of the committee include Dr Niran Oyekale; Rev. Sunday Folayan; digital business entrepreneur, Mr. Ayo Alex-Alao; Dr Tunde Adegbola; Hon. Bamidele Faparusi; Mr. Adebayo Akande-Mosope; Mr. Olumide Babatunde Olawale; Mr. Ayo Abiodun and Mr. Akinkugbe Olumbe-Oluleye.